November 7, 2019

#PresidentialElections2019/Christian Strohal (OSCE): The electoral process is always national, not international
Nov 7, 2019

#PresidentialElections2019/Christian Strohal (OSCE): The electoral process is always national, not international.
Ambassador Christian Strohal, who is leading the mission of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe - the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR) for observing the presidential elections in Romania, stated for AGERPRES that the electoral process is always a national one, the line his team follows being "alignment to international rules". The observers that come from abroad see the electoral process from the perspective of international agreements and international legislation, while those coming from within are in the center of each electoral process and see also how the electoral system could be adapted, where it should be consolidated, where it should be changed, the ambassador stated. Strohal is leading a team of six international election experts, five coming from states participating in the OSCE, that has come to Bucharest at the invitation of the Romanian authorities and started its activity on October 29. The official emphasized that the role of his team is to evaluate the electoral process from the perspective of respecting OSCE commitments, international obligations and standards, as well as national legislation. The mission in Romania will be a small one, and dialogue partners for the observer team will be the political parties, the Electoral Authority, as well as institutions in justice, civil society, media. It’s not a systematic observation, meaning there are not many people to go in polling stations, to fill out questionnaires, to approach the election day in a systematic manner. We don’t do this, because we know, we’ve been here five-six times in the past 15 years, and the activity of observing the elections is not done in isolation, but is part of the interaction with all the countries, the head of the mission stated. The activity of the international observing team includes managing potential complaints that regard the electoral process. For this reason, the team will stay on after election day. We will stay another week after, in order to see this process of complaints. There are clear rules about who can be involved in this system of complaints, from the administration to the Constitutional Court, the Ambassador stated. The international observers team is present in Romania during an election that features a first - Romanians abroad will vote for three days, in a record number of polling stations opened abroad. Strohal spoke, in this sense, of a "considerable effort" of Romanian authorities. We are careful not only at the Facebook presence of candidates and the parties that they represent, but we see a wider framework, that of the social media environment in that country. These influence elections and it’s important especially in the context in which, including here, I believe, things move, somehow, from the press to social media and from electronic media to social media - a challenge we see in every country, the official emphasized. In Romania, OSCE/ODIHR has observed the elections five times previously, starting with 1996.AGERPRES(RO - author: Oana Ghita, editor: Mirela Barbulescu; EN - author: Razvan-Adrian Pandea, editor: Maria Voican)

[Read the article in Agerpres]

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